Skeletal effects of zoledronic acid in an animal model of chronic kidney disease

Osteoporos Int. 2013 Apr;24(4):1471-81. doi: 10.1007/s00198-012-2103-x. Epub 2012 Aug 21.


Bisphosphonates reduce skeletal loss and fracture risk, but their use has been limited in patients with chronic kidney disease. This study shows skeletal benefits of zoledronic acid in an animal model of chronic kidney disease.

Introduction: Bisphosphonates are routinely used to reduce fractures but limited data exists concerning their efficacy in non-dialysis chronic kidney disease. The goal of this study was to test the hypothesis that zoledronic acid produces similar skeletal effects in normal animals and those with kidney disease.

Methods: At 25 weeks of age, normal rats were treated with a single dose of saline vehicle or 100 μg/kg of zoledronic acid while animals with kidney disease (approximately 30% of normal kidney function) were treated with vehicle, low dose (20 μg/kg), or high dose (100 μg/kg) zoledronic acid, or calcium gluconate (3% in the drinking water). Skeletal properties were assessed 5 weeks later using micro-computed tomography, dynamic histomorphometry, and mechanical testing.

Results: Animals with kidney disease had significantly higher trabecular bone remodeling compared to normal animals. Zoledronic acid significantly suppressed remodeling in both normal and diseased animals yet the remodeling response to zoledronic acid was no different in normal and animals with kidney disease. Animals with kidney disease had significantly lower cortical bone biomechanical properties; these were partially normalized by treatment.

Conclusions: Based on these results, we conclude that zoledronic acid produces similar amounts of remodeling suppression in animals with high turnover kidney disease as it does in normal animals, and has positive effects on select biomechanical properties that are similar in normal animals and those with chronic kidney disease.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Bone Density / drug effects
  • Bone Density Conservation Agents / administration & dosage
  • Bone Density Conservation Agents / pharmacology*
  • Bone Remodeling / drug effects*
  • Bone Remodeling / physiology
  • Diaphyses / drug effects
  • Diaphyses / physiopathology
  • Diphosphonates / administration & dosage
  • Diphosphonates / pharmacology*
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Femur / drug effects
  • Femur / physiopathology
  • Imidazoles / administration & dosage
  • Imidazoles / pharmacology*
  • Male
  • Osteogenesis / drug effects
  • Osteogenesis / physiology
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Renal Insufficiency, Chronic / physiopathology*
  • Tibia / drug effects
  • Tibia / pathology
  • Tibia / physiopathology
  • Zoledronic Acid


  • Bone Density Conservation Agents
  • Diphosphonates
  • Imidazoles
  • Zoledronic Acid